Made a New Year’s Resolution to Be More Productive at the Office? Try These 5 Tricks to Make Your Resolution Stick in 2015

new years resolution calendarAround this time every year you hear people say, “It’s a new year, time for a new me!” And you’re probably sick of it right? Well what if that “new you” could help make your work week easier?

Do Mondays sneak up on you?
Do you wish you had more time during the week for yourself?
Do you find yourself stressed out because things snuck up on you?
Do you find yourself scrambling in the mornings to find commonly needed items?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions then a new year, new you cliché may be in order. However, it doesn’t have to involve big changes. Just a few simple changes can make your week smoother.

Don’t make your week any harder than it has to be and adopt these 5 simple steps and gain more time for the things that are most important to you.

Start your week on Sunday

You don’t work on weekends. Understandable. However, taking one hour on Sunday to look ahead at your schedule and plan your week can be a big game changer.

If you can’t commit to preparing for a whole week – commit to taking things one day at a time. Take a few minutes each night before you go to bed to prepare for the next day ahead. Take this time to look at your activities and meetings.

Once you know what you have to look forward to you can begin the next step: Packing a bag or briefcase.

Pack your bags

It doesn’t matter if you have a briefcase, purse, or backpack, pack or organize your bag with things you need for the week or for the next day.

If you are going to have a long day, make sure you pack a phone charger or a reusable water bottle.

Have a big presentation on a USB drive? Pack it the night before.

If you are going to need something the next day don’t wait until the last minute to try to remember to grab it. Life can be full of unfortunate, random last minute emergencies, which cause stress and can cause you to forget things. By taking the time to pack your daily necessities in a bag all you have to do in the morning is grab it and go.

This brings us to the next step: Planning meals.

Eat the smart way

Don’t be fooled by this tactic – you don’t have to eat that weird, healthy stuff if you don’t want to. However, whatever you prefer to eat, plan your meals ahead. That could mean preparing them at home and freezing them in individual Tupperware containers so that you can just throw them in your bag in the morning.

Planning a lunch meeting to go out and eat? Knowing which days you’re bringing a lunch or which days you are going out for lunch can be a HUGE time saver. If you are planning to go out to eat you will be able to plan your work day knowing you are needing to leave at a certain time.

By knowing this you will know how many hours in your work day you have to get done what is needed before you leave. If you can commit to planning even more details other than you are leaving the office, try to think ahead about where you are wanting to go. A lot of time can be wasted on making a decision of which restaurant you would like to go to.

Planning outings for lunch can be difficult to remember small details like place and time. This will bring you to the next step in organizing your work week: Keeping a planner.

Go back to basics

Smartphones are great at keeping us on task but aren’t always the most helpful. Sure, you can set a reminder on your phone. What happens if your reminder goes off, you dismiss it and still forget? Setting that reminder didn’t do you any good and you still miss your appointment.

By keeping a planner you can see the written details at all times and you will be more likely to remember because you wrote everything down. If a planner seems to boring or mundane to you, then spice things up and use color coding with fun post-it’s or colored pens. Or find a planner that is colorful or customizable with your favorite photos.

Yes, there are more exciting things to life than just color-coding your fancy planner. Which will bring us to the fifth and final step of making your work week easier: Making time for you!

Take much needed mental health breaks

Now that you know your work week schedule, have packed your bag, made your lunch plans and organized everything in your fancy new planner, you can now budget some much needed “me time.”

Think of your work week like balancing your checkbook, after you have crunched all the numbers of what you need to have for your bills you know what’s left for yourself. This applies to your work week. After you have scheduled out all of your meetings and work plans, schedule time for yourself and stick to it.

Taking time for yourself is just as important as meetings for your job. Time for yourself could be 15-20 minutes to read the next chapter in a book, or taking two hours out of your day to watch a movie, or maybe even taking an hour to get your daily fitness game in check.

Whatever you enjoy doing make sure you take the time to fit that in. You and your mind need that time to relax, without relaxation and time for yourself you won’t be able to take on the rest of your day with the energy that is required.

When you think of this year and setting goals, don’t rule out the “new year, new me” cliché quite yet. Simple changes can mean big things for you personally or professionally. Eliminate stress by planning ahead and enjoy the great year that is ahead of you.

[Photo Credit: Joe Lanman via cc]